Day 2? Technically Full Day 1 in HK? I regret this numbering already.

So, we were a bit overly ambitious today. But! It is not our faults because, as the three of us woke up at either the crack of dawn or the few early morning hours following, we climbed up to the roof of our dorm and were met with these views:

Needless to say, it woke us up. (pro tip: pack CLIF bars, or something of the like, in anticipation for the first morning where you haven’t gone grocery shopping yet. although, unlike us, it probably won’t be a holiday and the canteen will probably be open; you can use your octopus card there for food. the train stations also have bakeries) (PRO TIP FROM THE FUTURE: hi I’m writing this from the following day, after getting lunch with Mark Sheldon [you might’ve seen him fall semesters at Ames, he’s a professor at CUHK and has lived in HK for 40+ years], we learned that there’s a supermarket on campus. pretty easy walk and elevator ride at the John Fulton Centre)

You might recall Gustav Flaubert’s quote I cited in the preliminary blog post: Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.

Whenever I travel—especially since my last summer’s seven weeks independent in Albania—I await the moment. That moment where you feel what a tiny place you occupy on this Earth in the most wonderfully overwhelming way. I always yearn for those moments for their humbling effect, but also because of their refreshing and reorienting properties. Articulating this feeling is something new for me; it’s just such a wonderful privilege to be able to experience such miraculous beauty, and to recognize it wherever you go. It fills you with a sense of purpose: as this beauty has existed before your arrival, so you want to ensure its persisted presence even after you leave. Now, this sentiment is extended to my way of life in general: the great use of one’s life is to spend it towards something which will outlast it. This manifests itself in countless ways, unique to each individual. For me, I happen to have committed myself to ensuring that as many people are empowered and/or have the ability/opportunity to experience beauty—everyone deserves it.

Needless to say, standing on top of the roof that morning was a “the moment” moment.

The beauty I find is complemented by the beautiful people I meet, whose stories I am honoured enough to hear and learn. Always seek to listen to them. Always seek to learn.

How wonderful that my first taste of this continent is through living here for two months, helping Mission for Migrant Workers help others, learning from these workers about their lives. But I digress. More on that to come.

Speaking of the Mission though, Edward took us on the route Shaela and I, starting Monday, will be embarking on to get to work in Central. Honestly couldn’t tell you how long of a commute it was, I was too busy frantically writing down the stops and processing the turns we made to get to each location. The day in which this route becomes second nature will be a day to rejoice. Oh, I can’t wait!

It was closed, presumably for the holiday, so we were only able to steal a passing glance. I am excited for Monday, though! Hopefully we find out what time we’re wanted to arrive…

I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture because it felt disrespectful, but most of the open spaces were filled with the migrant workers I had only read or heard about, all having set up cardboard within which to settle. From what I could tell, majority of the population was Southeast Asian—and I know a good amount to be from the Philippines and Indonesia.

Put us on a bus and send us off!

From Central, Edward left us on our own as he sent us to Stanley Village to see the International Dragon Boat Festival—a rowing competition. We were meant to meet Louisa from Germany (another HKAC worker, I believe), but she was unavailable. It was a very long bus ride, but super scenic. In that moment I wished I owned a GoPro, because my phone couldn’t adequately capture everything I saw in the moment.

Once we got there, it was obvious that there was an international festival going on. Besides the Hong Kong teams, I heard a lot of Australian accents, saw a Japanese team, one from London, this seemed like a big deal!

Characteristics of this excursion were similar to those of literally any other outing in Hong Kong, it seems: hot, crowded, lots of walking (pro tip: although it goes without saying–sunscreen. water bottle. some people invest in an umbrella, which I hear’ll come in handy anyway, as we’re about to head into the heart of the rainy season).

We navigated our way back to Central, thanks to Jarlai and citymapper (pro tip: download it), where we wandered. I was grateful to be under no time constraint and to have no upcoming obligations. It was 2pm at this time, and we really thought we could last through the evening; we were planning on waiting until nightfall to go on the ferry, see the night markets until suddenly, around 3:30pm, the jetlag hit us like a ton of bricks.

us on the student bus up the mountain, back to New Asia College

We barely lasted until 8pm.


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